Red Ribbons (1994) - full transcript

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Still got it.

[coughing]

[coughing]

FRANK (ON VIDEO): Light.

Quality of light.

The texture of light.

The taste of light.

Oh, yes.

You can taste light if you really, really want to.

After I'm gone-- I hate the way those words sound.

Unfortunately, they are also appropriate.



After I'm gone, I know people are

going to say I started this video diary

after I learned I had AIDS.

People always say things like that.

But it isn't true.

I started this video diary years ago,

before I was even diagnosed.

I didn't start it to create some morbid record of my final days.

That's tacky and predictable, and I hate things

that are tacky and predictable.

I-- I started it for a much more innocuous

and delightful reason-- to capture light.

[coughing]

FRANK (ON VIDEO): I love light.



What are you doing up?

FRANK (ON VIDEO): I always will.

Would you please put that camera down and go back to bed.

You know what the doctor said.

You should be resting in bed.

FRANK: I have been resting.

It's all I've ever been doing.

All my life, I've been resting.

Look, I-- I've been going through your copies

of your video diary.

Well, tomorrow I'm going to start sending them

out to all the film festivals.

And not just the gay and lesbian ones either.

Believe it or not, Frank David Niles, you're mainstream now.

Even straights go to see your plays.

Some of them even like them.

And maybe one or two of them actually understand them.

Frank?

Frank?

Where are you going?

Frank!

Frank, you shouldn't be going out.

You're not well enough.

Frank, would you just give me a minute?

I'll put something on, OK, and I'll join you.

Just one minute.

Frank!

Frank!

Please.

You shouldn't be going out.

You're not well enough.

Frank, would you just give me a minute?

I'll put something on, OK, and I'll join you.

Just one minute.

Frank!

Frank!

Please.

Frank!

[knocking]

Coming, Mrs. Niles.

Sis!

Hi.

Did I hear you say Mrs. Niles?

You expecting Frank's mother?

As a matter of fact, yes.

Ah.

I thought she refused to have anything to do with you,

or anyone who reminded her Frank was gay.

She change her mind now that it's too late?

I don't know.

She called me this morning, said she had to see me.

It was important.

Maybe she's feeling guilty about not

going to her own son's funeral yesterday, I don't know.

Or maybe she intends to throw me out of what

she sees as Frank's apartment.

I don't know.

It's-- all I do know is that I'm expecting her.

But I wasn't expecting you.

This is a nice surprise.

What brings you here?

Mission of mercy to cheer me up?

Oh, I wish I could cheer you up.

But I'm almost as hard hit by this as you are.

Frank-- Frank was like a brother to me.

I loved him the same way I love you.

And maybe another way too?

You know?

Frank told me.

He eventually told me about all of his excursions.

I learned not to let them bother me, or at least not to show it.

It-- it was just once.

I know.

I know.

It's all right.

Don't let it worry you.

It's good to see you.

Oh, God, this creaky old floor.

Ah, I remember the first time I walked in here and heard it.

I told Frank it sounded like it was going to collapse

and we'd all tumble into the gay bar downstairs.

And he said, that'd be fine with him as long as he landed

on top of the cute bartender.

Well, the floor never collapsed,

but that didn't stopped Frank from landing

on top of the cute bartender.

Oh.

Oh, Robert, I'm sorry.

I didn't know.

Frank didn't know I knew.

Don't let it bother you.

I'm glad you're here.

Thanks.

But I don't know if you're gonna feel that way

when I tell you why I came.

I needed a place to meet Zach, and--

Oh, Carolyn.

He hates me.

Well, don't take it personally.

He hates all queers.

And Jews and blacks and Commies, if there are any more Commies.

Oh, god, that white trash is gonna come here?

Ugh.

Look, I know you were both high when you got married,

but couldn't you see through your high?

Couldn't you look down from the clouds

and see what kind of jerk he was, and still is?

No.

All I could see was that he was the manager

of a successful rock band.

That meant glamour, travel, free drugs.

Well, it was fun for a while, until they took a sharp turn

to the right and started beating up queers and Jews

and blacks and Commies.

Look, in another month, we'll be divorced.

That's why I had to meet him here.

I have some legal papers for him to sign.

Well, couldn't you just mail them to him?

No, he never reads his mail.

He just throws it right in the garbage.

Besides, I didn't want to meet him alone.

I'm sorry to drag you in.

It's OK, sis.

Besides, I wanted to be here with you.

I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I miss Frank already.

It's times like these I wish I believed in ghosts.

Or reincarnation or something.

Something where the soul is eternal

and you can expect a friendly visit from someone you love.

FRANK: Carolyn, dear, you have a sentimental

streak I never suspected.

But we must be realistic, all of us.

And there are three irrefutable facts we must remember.

One, I have the dubious but inevitable

distinction of joining the ranks of people with AIDS.

Two, despite your desires, there is no such thing

as reincarnation or life after death or God, for that matter.

Sorry.

So don't expect me to come back after I'm gone.

And three, I'm dying.

If I can accept it, you all can accept it.

It's that simple.

That simple-- easy, over, done.

Roll over and play dead.

Another martyr.

It isn't that easy, Frank.

Another martyr.

Not for the living.

It isn't that easy.

How many martyrs must there be?

Not for those who love you.

It's not that easy.

The streets are sacrificing you, you and every other queer

with AIDS.

I won't let it be that easy.

I won't let it be that meaningless and easy.

Another martyr.

FRANK: Preston, you've always been

one of my biggest supporters.

I could always count on you to write a glowing review

in "The Voice."

You're a genius.

FRANK: And you're a fool.

And I'm an idiot.

You're the most controversial playwright and director alive.

FRANK: First of all, there is a big difference

between being controversial and being a genius.

It's a hell of a lot easier being controversial

than it is being a genius.

Second of all, I won't be alive much longer,

so I suggest you start exploring every little theater

in the Village trying to find the next controversial

playwright to champion.

Only make sure he doesn't have AIDS.

After all, you'll want him to live

long enough to reap the rewards of your journalistic efforts.

I suppose by the same token, you

want me to start going to the bars

and looking for my next lover.

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean it to sound so-- it's just that we love you,

Frank.

Everyone you work with, the entire cast and crew

of "In Your Face," we all love you.

FRANK: I love you too, all of you.

It's just-- look, it's my disease

and I'll cry if I want to.

Right now I-- I just don't feel like crying.

We're, uh-- would you like us to scatter your ashes, Frank?

Preston!

Well, it's an important thing to consider.

It says a lot about a person.

It's something people remember.

It's like when I was in Nicaragua

fighting with the Sandinistas.

Oh, here we go again.

Let him go.

It's always good for a laugh.

Sure, to you it's funny, but I was there

surrounded by gunfire and CIA backed, right wing death

squads.

I had this dear comrade, a Sandinista,

he knew that somewhere there was an American bullet

with his name on it.

He told me that when he gets it, he

wanted his ashes to be scattered in the poorest

sections of Managua.

FRANK: Very well, Preston.

If it makes you feel better, when my time comes,

you scatter my ashes over the richest

section of Beverly Hills.

You're not serious.

Are you?

FRANK: Preston, if this is going to degenerate into another one

of your political tirades, I'm going to have to ask you to get

off your soapbox and leave.

You know where the door is.

[knocking]

Do you think that's Zack?

Or Mrs. Niles.

Either way, I'm not looking forward to this.

Well, here it goes.

Surprise.

Hope you don't mind us stopping by.

Of course not.

Come on in.

Frank and I always love it when you come by.

Listen to me, living in the past.

Frank and I.

I know how you feel, honey.

I still can't believe he's gone.

[clearing throat]

Where are my manners?

You remember my sister, Carolyn.

Of course. Hi.

Hi.

It's nice to see you again.

Last time I saw you two, you were

starring in Frank's Shakespeare adaptation,

"Two Lesbians From Verona."

Oh, last year.

God, that seems like so long ago.

Well, anyway, we were in the neighborhood.

And we just thought we'd stop by.

What do you mean you were in the neighborhood?

You live on the next block.

He's got us there.

We just wanted to be here with you.

You know, this is-- this is an important place for us.

I know what you mean.

I know what you mean.

I'm glad you're both here.

You really helped out a lot these past few months.

And you were there when Frank needed you and--

and when I needed you.

All right, come on.

Lay still.

You're gonna make me spill this stuff.

Come on.

Leave me alone, all of you.

You've got to eat something.

Are you fucking deaf?

I said leave me the fuck alone.

Robert, will you be careful with that camera?

Now, come on, don't make me get butch here.

Come on.

Get that shit out of my face.

Robert, I swear, if you drop my camera, I--

ROBERT: I won't drop your precious camera.

I'm the one who went to film school.

I know how to handle this thing better than you.

Now, are we gonna have to force-feed you?

Now, is that what you want?

Don't hold the camera by the lens.

ROBERT: I'm not!

Jesus!

You always treat me like a little kid.

You know, we feed hundreds of people with AIDS,

and you are the most incredible shithead I have ever met.

You know, we could be at the hospital feeding somebody else.

ROBERT: What is it with you?

You never let anyone mother you.

What is that about my mother?

ROBERT: Not your mother.

What I-- ugh, forget it.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

Really, I am.

ROBERT: Well, here's a first.

The great Frank David Niles apologizing?

I'm glad the camera's recording this historic moment.

Can I do this now?

[cough]

Oh, be careful.

There's a part of me that's saying, I know Frank is gone.

His funeral was yesterday.

I was there.

I saw it.

But I still feel his presence here so strongly.

Yeah, I know what you mean.

I feel it too.

You know, it's almost like he's in the next room,

like he could walk in here any second.

FRANK: OK, here's a copy of the script for you.

Now everybody's got one, so no more fuck ups.

Now, Joan, we'll take it from your speech

on the top of page nine.

Now, remember, you're a man.

Well, that's what my father keeps telling me.

FRANK: You're the president of a big condom

manufacturing company, so you're very arrogant and aggressive.

In other words, just be yourself.

Betty, you are also a man, an underling

who's used to kissing his ass.

That sounds a lot like real life.

FRANK: All right, enough, let's act.

Fellow shareholders, board of directors,

I'm delighted to report that profits are up, up, up, up, up

and rising.

As long as people fear AIDS, they'll

love us and our condoms.

You know, there's some people who

say that God created AIDS as an act of revenge against queers.

Well, they're only half right.

God created AIDS but not for revenge.

He created AIDS because I asked Him to.

It was in church, one bright sunny Sunday morning.

One of those spring days where you wake up and you say,

God, it's good to be alive.

So there I was in church, about to receive holy communion,

when I prayed to God to help our slagging sales,

to give us a divine boost, as it were.

The next thing you know, there's an AIDS epidemic,

and condom sales, they're shooting up to the heavens.

Well, so to speak.

FRANK: Joshua, sweetheart, it's your line.

Oh, dear me.

Sorry.

My apologies.

Where are we?

FRANK: Your line, and they say prayer doesn't work.

Oh, yes, of course.

It's right here.

FRANK: Joshua, darling, as you know,

I am not long for this world.

This play is very close to my heart,

and I would very much like to see it performed before I go.

Now, shape up, or I'll show this videotape to all your fans.

Ha!

Horace Nightingale III, are you laughing at me?

Yes, my love.

I am.

FRANK: All right, children.

Let's try it again.

[knocking]

Oh, Jesus.

Who the hell can that be?

Must be Mrs. Niles.

Or Zack.

Joshua, Horace, what a nice surprise.

My dear, dear boy, Horace and I were just in the neighborhood,

and we decided to stop by and see how you were getting along.

That's rubbish, and you know it.

The fact is, dear boy, we made a special journey here

to see you and to be in a place that has meant so much to us.

To us, this is hallowed ground, a place of art and culture,

creativity, and theatre.

We felt that in trekking here, we'd be closer to-- Frank.

Oh, it's been too hard.

Must you always be so bloody melodramatic?

It's my years of training in the finest

acting schools of Europe.

Ha!

Horace Nightingale III, are you laughing at me again?

Gentlemen, gentlemen, please come in.

Relax.

Have a seat.

You know, you're not doing my blood pressure any good.

One of these days, you'll go too far,

and you'll laugh at me for the last time.

I can't help it if you amuse me.

I'm warning you, Horace.

You know, you're not the only man in my life.

I've had other offers.

For what?

Can I get someone a drink?

I'll have a beer.

Me too.

I'd like a beer as well.

Don't you dare!

Remember what the doctor said-- no alcohol whatsoever.

Oh, you do care about me after all.

FRANK: There's a feeling out there that gay relationships

can't last.

Yet you two have been a couple for over 30 years.

35.

36.

We were both doing summer stock, an Arthur Miller play,

I believe.

35, and it was Shakespeare.

36, and it was Miller.

FRANK: To what do you credit the longevity of your relationship?

Patience.

35, and it was "Hamlet."

See what I mean?

You must remember that a gay marriage

is like any other marriage, only more so.

I suppose you think that's clever.

Patience.

We've all had a terrible loss, but if we're all

going to sit here feeling sorry for ourselves,

this is going to be one of the most dismal affairs ever.

Besides, I don't think Frank would have wanted

us to behave in that way.

He's right, you know.

Well, Frank wasn't the kind of guy to sit around and mourn.

That's, like, too cliche for him.

He looked at death the same way he looked at life,

from a different angle.

I don't know who will ever see this video diary, if anyone.

But if you're watching, there's a good chance

you will have seen, or at least heard of,

a great dancer named Henry Davis.

I'm proud to say Henry was a friend, a collaborator,

a confidant, and a lover.

He was beautiful, even when he wasn't dancing.

And he had this unique way of making

you feel beautiful too, and of making you feel like dancing.

I remember the day Henry told me he had AIDS.

He was rehearsing a ballet scene for one of my plays,

and he told me he had AIDS as he was dancing.

He didn't stop for a second.

He just kept dancing.

Henry taught me that to dance was to live.

I-- I visited Henry in the hospital today.

I sat there watching him and reminiscing

and waiting for him to wake up.

He never woke up.

So I watched this contraption, this life

support system flush him out.

You would never know it from watching this scene,

but Henry had one of the greatest asses ever created.

It was a work of art.

More profound, I believe, than anything

I ever wrote or will write.

I decided today that I-- I would never

let one of these so-called life support systems touch me.

Oh, when my turn comes, I want to go out dancing.

That's what I learned from Henry.

He looked at death the same way he looked at life-- you know,

from a different angle.

You remember at Henry's funeral a couple of years ago?

He just-- he started dancing.

He just got up, and he started dancing.

I thought he was crazy at first.

Right, right.

And then after a few minutes, the whole place was dancing.

I mean, you were dancing.

I was dancing-- you two were dancing.

Yes, I dance divinely.

It's my years of training at the finest

dancing schools of Europe.

Ha!

[knocking]

Mrs. Niles.

Zack.

Well, there's only one way to find out.

"The Last Martyr," an intimate portrait

of the late Frank David Niles by Preston Sinclair.

This is my article for next week's "Village Voice."

On April 14, 1994, the world-- not just the day world,

but the whole world-- the world at large, the global community

lost one of its finest creative forces.

For many, Frank David Niles personified artistry

in the face of turmoil, creativity

in the face of a world content with mediocrity,

and a noble spirit in a time of complacency.

[knocking]

Aw, Jesus.

Zack.

How would you like a part in my band's new roadshow?

You know, all you gotta do is let

the guys beat you up on stage.

The audience loves it when we beat up fags, you know?

They pay extra to see it.

It's kind of like we're doing a public service, you know?

Ridding the community of scum.

Look, Zack, I didn't invite you here to be insulting.

Just sign these papers and get the hell out of here,

and get the hell out of my life.

Wow, what a vocabulary.

Where the fuck did you learn to talk like that?

Undoubtedly from you and that so-called band of yours.

What do you call yourselves?

Fuck You and Don't Ask Again.

He is the most insulting bastard.

That's the name of the band, asshole.

Fuck You and Don't Ask Again.

Terribly clever.

I suppose you thought of it.

Well, yeah.

Look, Zack, just sign the papers and go, OK?

Don't rush me.

Hey, what's this?

A party?

Are you having a party?

So soon after your lover boy's funeral, you're having a party?

You party animal.

Well, what have we here?

A couple of ancient queens.

Tell me, Pops, did you two invent ass fucking

back during the Stone Age?

Zack, just sign the papers and go.

You are not welcome here.

Well, I'm not welcome anywhere.

That's the way I like it.

I used to hate you, Zack.

Now I just feel sorry for you.

You never cared about anyone or anything.

There's nothing in your life that gives it any meaning.

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

That's all you ever had.

That's right.

And that's all I ever wanted.

It's all I need.

I am a totally fulfilled person.

I have everything I ever wanted, and that

is why you hate me so much.

You're the one who's leading an empty life, my sweetie, not me.

Zack, just get the hell out there and sign these fucking

papers before I stab you in your fucking heart

with my fucking pin.

[struggling]

ZACK: Oh, mama!

My sister was on drugs when she married him.

That's obvious.

I'm sorry.

I-- excuse me, OK?

Right here.

Your lawyer drew these up.

Right here is where you sign.

All right.

Cool your fucking jets.

Just sign it.

All right.

I have a confession to make, lover.

That's a twist.

Usually everybody comes to you when

they have a confession to make.

Forgive me, lover, for I have sinned.

What is your sin, my son?

I secretly videotaped our love-making.

You what?

Where's the camera?

Hiding right over there on the bookshelf, sandwiched

between "The Naked Civil Servant" and "The Adventures

of Huckleberry Finn."

Actually, it's-- it's not the first time I've done this.

You just look so beautiful when we make love,

I want to watch it over and over and over.

I hope you're not mad at me.

I'm not mad.

I'm flattered.

You got any tape left in that camcorder?

About 90 minutes more.

Well, in that case, I'm gonna give you 90 more minutes

of hot, sizzling action!

Oh!

Robert!

Frank said you wouldn't be home until much later.

I caught an early plane.

What-- what you must think.

You must hate me.

I must be number one on your hate list.

I don't hate you, Stud.

Don't?

Robert, you're a gem.

You're a saint.

You're a one of a kind, absolute--

Shut up and get the fuck out of my bed.

BETTY: Robert?

Robert?

Yoo-hoo, come in, Robert.

Earth to Robert.

What, huh?

I'm sorry to wake you up out of your daydream, honey,

but you just got a phone call.

It was from Fag Hag.

That pest.

What did she want?

Well, she wanted to invited you on the show

tonight to talk about Frank, but I told her

you couldn't because the whole troupe

was over here cheering you up.

Good.

Well, not really.

As soon as she found out we were all over here,

she said she's rushing right over with a camera

to interview us all, and she hung up before I

had a chance to say no.

First Zack, now Fag Hag.

Give me strength.

Again, I-- I want to apologize for my ex.

Well, my soon to be--

Listen, everybody.

Betty asked me to break the bad news.

Fag Hag is a-coming.

Who's Fag Hag?

Is she a friend of yours?

No, not exactly.

She's a hostess on one of those gay cable talk shows.

And she's the pestiest, nosiest bitch on TV.

And she thinks she's cable TV's answer to David Letterman.

She's an incredibly dull woman.

A veritable cure for insomnia.

I like her dresses.

Well, in a few minutes, you'll be able to see

what she's wearing today.

She said she was going to grab a cameraman

and come over here to interview all of Frank's friends.

And she's only a block away from here, so prepare yourselves.

Yo, Robert.

Yo.

Don't you have any imported beer instead of this domestic shit?

Look Zack, just take the fucking beer

and get the hell out of here, huh?

Get the hell out of my life.

Gee, Carolyn, I almost get the impression

that you don't love me anymore.

Zack, I never loved you.

That's not what you said when you

depended on me for your coke.

I can't deal with him anymore.

Get out of here, Zack.

All right, I'm going.

Remember, I was invited here.

My wife invited me, your sister.

Want to kiss me goodbye?

Get the fuck out of here, now!

Hello!

Stud, what are you doing here?

Well, I was just in the neighborhood,

and I thought I'd stop by to see how you're doing.

Honestly, Stud, you weren't really just

in the neighborhood, were you?

Well, actually, no.

I was uptown shooting a new porno with Jason Wrangler.

Gorgeous as he is, I just couldn't

stop thinking about you and Frank and how sad this all is.

And well, I wanted to be here.

So here I am.

Well, why don't you come on in and have a seat?

Everybody else has.

If it's all right with you, I don't think I'll sit.

I did three very, very passionate love scenes

with Jason this morning, and personally I don't think

I'll be able to sit for a week.

But this time, I mean it.

This is the last porn film I'm doing, ever.

Yes, I know you've heard me say that before,

but this time I really, really mean it.

I was thinking about Frank and the great work

he did when he was alive and how his tragic, tragic death

and-- well, it convinced me that I have to change my ways.

I mean, I just had myself tested again,

and well, why tempt fate?

So anyway, tell me, who else is here?

Why don't you have a look?

Hello, everybody!

What the fuck is that thing?

You were just leaving.

He ought to be taken out and shot.

Shut up, he's coming back.

Ah, who gives a shit?

Hey!

My name is Stud.

I see.

Ever seen one of my films?

Nope.

"Boys in the Pit Stop"?

Missed it.

"Carnival in Rio"?

Must have been out of town.

"Cowboys in the Dust"?

-Shoot. -Pity.

Tragic.

But my greatest performance was in Frank's very, very serious

drama about the persecution of gays in Hitler's

Germany, "The Pink Triangle."

Oh, it was very, very sad.

And it gave me a very, very good opportunity

to explore my entire acting range,

which is more than what I can say for what I'm doing now.

But anyway, yesterday at Frank's funeral,

I had an opportunity to perform my soliloquy

from the third act.

I'm in a concentration camp with all the other German queers,

and the Nazis are taking us out one

by one, taking a rifle butt, sticking it up our asses,

shooting us.

My lover was just taken out by the guards,

and I'm left alone with my thoughts.

[clearing throat]

I'm next.

I'm next.

My lover and me and all of us, all of our kind.

Why do I feel like I've lived this moment before?

Because I have.

Whenever they come for one of us, for our kind,

throughout history, I feel it now.

Persecution handed down through the centuries,

and all the time, we just ask, why?

Why us?

We're not animals.

FRANK: We're not animals.

We're people who love and need love.

We only ask for acceptance, tolerance.

God, this is such shit.

What god damn shit!

Why is it when I write something good, the critics hate it?

And I write crap like this, they eat it up?

If there were a Pulitzer for loathsome, amateurish nonsense,

I'd win it.

I haven't written anything I really like in over 20 years.

Best thing I ever wrote, I was 17.

My love was by my side, fast asleep.

I reached out with my fingernail.

I gently wrote a love poem on his tanned, muscular back.

Oh, I must have awakened him, because he turned over,

and we made love again.

And then he fell asleep.

And I went to read the poem.

I noticed it was gone, erased by our wild passions.

Oh, it was a great poem.

And he was a great fuck.

He was 21, a lifeguard and an athlete, everything a boy of 17

could want.

Everything I want now.

I wonder whatever happened to him.

Ah, he's probably dead.

Fucked everyone in sight.

Either that or he's married with five

kids and a fat wife, which is the same thing as being dead.

Then suddenly, bang, we hear a gunshot from off the stage,

and well, we know my lover's been shot up the ass.

I look down sadly.

No lover.

That's me.

No lover.

How about you, lover?

Who was that cute guy?

It goes by the name of Zack.

He's got a boyfriend?

Uh, no.

Not at the moment.

I wonder if I can still catch him.

I hope he doesn't think I'm too easy because I do porn.

Bye.

I hope he catches him.

[laughing]

Oh, they'll make a beautiful couple.

A marriage made in heaven.

[knocking]

That must be Mrs. Niles.

How do I look darling?

Nothing in my teeth?

Listen, I have a run.

So keep it about the waist, OK, darling?

Here we go.

I know they're in there.

Come on.

This is Fag Hag on location with Robert Cisco,

lover of Frank David Niles.

The late Frank David Niles, I should say.

Robert is also co-creative director of "In Your Face,"

the controversial queer theatre group, most of whom,

it appears, are here today.

Robert, this must be such a sad day for you.

I knew Frank.

He was on my show many, many times.

And I loved him also.

You know, I'm usually a very flamboyant person.

But in Frank's honor, I wore a full mourning dress tonight.

He was a great talent, taken from us at his peak

by the dreaded AIDS.

Look who's over there!

I'm here with Betty and Joan, stars of so many

of Frank's great, great plays.

Look who's over there.

I'm here with two legends of the American theatre,

Horace Nightingale III and Joshua Collins.

Now, I saw you two 35 years ago, when you appeared

together for the first time in Shakespeare's, "Hamlet," I

believe.

Told you so.

Of course, I was just a teeny-weeny little Fag Hag back

then.

My mommy and daddy had to take me.

But I grew up in a house with a lot of culture.

Look who's over there.

I'm here with Preston Sinclair, columnist

for "The Village Voice."

Preston's coverage of the gay scene

is-- look who's over there!

I can't believe you're here.

I didn't know you knew Frank.

I'm talking with Carol Channing's daughter, Emily.

I'm not Carol Channing's daughter.

-You're not? -No.

I'm Robert's sister.

Oh, I'm terribly sorry.

You look like-- it must be my new contacts.

Well, listen, I really gotta hustle if I want to get

this stuff on the air tonight.

Listen, thank you for all the great interviews.

Tell all your friends to watch my show.

Love you, love you, love you all to death.

Come on, you got that?

Lousy food.

You know, you really should refrigerate tuna salad.

ROBERT: Frank, you shouldn't be going out.

You're not well enough.

Frank, would you just give me a minute?

I'll put something on, OK, and I'll join you.

Just one minute.

Frank.

Frank!

Please.

Frank!

Ugh.

Anybody want to stick around to watch Fag Hag tonight?

I don't think so.

No way.

Give me a break.

The very idea.

I like her dresses.

Joshua.

Joshua, I-- I--

What are you trying to say, man?

Speak out.

I'm hard.

I've got an erection.

An erection?

Oh, sweet mother God, that makes two this year so far.

Horace Nightingale III, you're the most

insatiable man I've ever known.

It's not my fault. I can't help it.

Oh, heavens above.

Well, get rid of it.

I need your help.

This is embarrassing.

How devastating.

Oh, well, let's get the dirty deed done, over with.

Uh, maybe we'll use your-- what I mean

to say is, please excuse us.

This shan't take long.

This is the most embarrassing moment of my life.

I can't help it!

Oh, the misery.

The misery!

I hope we're still doing the nasty when we're their age.

I just hope we live long enough to be their age.

[knocking]

Mrs. Niles.

Good luck.

Mrs. Niles.

Hello, Robert.

Please, come in.

Thank you.

It was very good of you to let me

stop by on such short notice.

I-- oh, I am sorry.

I should have known you'd be having company.

This isn't exactly company.

These are Frank's friends.

We all felt the need to be together today.

Betty and Joan.

How do you do.

It's nice to meet you.

Mrs. Niles.

And this is Preston Sinclair.

Your son was a great artist.

Thank you.

And this is my sister, Carolyn.

She was also a friend of Frank's.

How do you do?

I'm sorry we couldn't meet under more

pleasant circumstances.

Frank was greatly loved.

He was an important part of all of our lives.

He'll be missed but not forgotten.

His works will live on.

His plays, his essays, his video diary.

Please, have a seat, Mrs. Niles.

Oh, yes.

May I get you something to drink?

Oh, no thank you, Robert.

I really can't stay very long.

I had intended to speak to you privately.

But since you're all Frank's closest friends,

well, you must think me a very poor mother.

It's true that years ago when I learned of Frank's orientation,

I all but disowned him.

I never spoke to him again because I

just didn't know what to say.

I disowned him, but I don't-- it wasn't because I

didn't love him.

I wouldn't want anyone to think that I

ever stopped loving my Frank.

I could never do that.

Oh, I loved him.

That's why it hurts so much.

I loved him but I just didn't understand him.

I had no idea what any of this was about.

Then last night, while all of you were at his funeral,

I made myself go through the things in his old room.

I had hardly set foot in there since-- since he left.

And I found some old papers in a box in the back in the closet.

There were poems and drawings.

Letters.

Love letters, from you, Robert.

I guess I know you'll think I'm a terrible sneak.

Right or wrong, I read them.

And I feel you should have them.

And I wanted to come and just tell you

that I have never in my life been

so deeply touched by anything.

I never knew a man could love another man-- well,

that a person could love another person with so

much passion and tenderness.

Most of the people I know, the couples, well, Frankly,

they all seem quite miserable.

I'm twice divorced.

Both Frank's brothers are divorced.

I found myself just wishing that they-- well, that everyone

could experience even a small portion of the love

that you two must have felt for each other

and the love that reflected itself

in all of Frank's poetry.

The poems that are mostly about you,

or inspired by you certainly, I'd like to keep them,

if you don't mind.

They're really quite lovely.

They're all-- they're all filled with such joy

and wonderful images of light.

I'm sorry.

Excuse me.

[sobbing]

I didn't mean to do this.

I can't help it.

I'm not sure that I deserve your sympathy.

I wasn't there for my son when he

needed me, when he was in pain.

I'm selfish.

But you were.

All of you were there.

And I wanted to thank you.

Thank you so much.

Mrs. Niles, Frank spoke of you often.

And he loved you very much.

He never blamed you for anything.

He blamed himself.

Well, no one's to blame.

We can't waste time blaming each other.

There's something I want you to have, Mrs. Niles.

This was Frank's.

He wore it as a tribute to all his friends who died of AIDS.

It meant a lot to him.

It made him feel like he was an important part of their lives.

It's not the answer, but it's a good place to start.

Thank you, Robert.

Thank you for--

[sobbing]

Oh, god!

Frank!

Frank!

Frank!

Frank!

Frank!

I've been looking all over for you.

Please, come back.

FRANK: I can't go back.

Only forward.

[music playing]